Simplify Primary Schedules

On Election Day 2014, set for Nov. 4, voters will go to the polls to vote for representatives in Congress and the State Senate and Assembly. For some, it will be the third time this year that they are asked to choose a representative.

This past Tuesday, some districts went to the polls for the Congressional primary. On Sept. 9, the State will hold a second primary for Senate and Assembly candidates who face a challenge. That’s three separate election days over the course of less than five months.

As voter turnout continues to decline, we may want to consider the sharp loss of voters as election fatigue. For those who pay attention, the election cycle seems never-ending. Take the last two years: from Presidential election to Mayoral and City-wide elections to, now, State-wide and Congressional seats. Once these mid-term elections are over, focus will no doubt shift back to the 2016 Presidential race and who will be in line to succeed President Barack Obama.

The constant election cycle is too much, and not only does it burn out those who pay attention to such things, it also costs the City and State more money than if they chose to only hold one primary day per cycle. A third election date costs millions of dollars – election day workers, poll monitors, vote counters and others need to be paid, after all.

New York State has been slow to change in a number of areas pertaining to elections – just look how long it took to implement new mandated voting machines. But in a time when saving municipal funds is a paramount concern, why do we accept the wasteful spending that occurs over the course of two primary elections and one general election?

A streamlined election schedule throughout New York State would have the benefit of not only of saving municipal funds, but to also wear down the potential for this perceived election fatigue. The time for the State Board of Elections to make changes to the system has come. Waiting too long could be costly.